Sunday, February 21, 2016

Reformy John King--Hypocrite of the Year

In a headline that appears to belong on The Onion, New York's own Reformy John King is "trying to repair the Obama administration's frayed relationship with teachers." This is kind of incredible. First of all, if President Obama wished to score points with teachers, he would not begin by appointing someone who appears to hate us and everything we stand for. And yes, that would be King.

In New York, King held hearings on Common Core. When he found himself criticized, the King called public school teachers and parents "special interests." He then canceled all subsequent hearings until an outraged public forced him to come out of his office and face the music. King passionately supported the miserable Common Core, and became indignant when New Yorkers asked why he placed his own children in schools that did not use it.

In one of his first major speeches as acting U.S. secretary of education, John King apologized to teachers for the role that the federal government has played in creating a climate in which teachers feel “attacked and unfairly blamed.”

It is borderline surreal to read these words. King himself championed the New York junk science rating system. It never bothered him that value-added teacher rating had no established validity. He totally ignored NY State principals who said that this was the wrong way to go. When the American Statistical Association declared that teachers affected student scores by a factor of 1-14%, King did not raise a whisper of acknowledgement.

Another disappointment is the reaction of NEA President Lily Eskelson Garcia:

“We definitely hear something new coming out of Dr. King,” she said, adding that while his words “mean a lot to us,” teachers are now interested in seeing how he backs up those words with actions.

The fact is she ought to know better. Candidate Barack Obama went to the NEA and promised to do things "with" teachers, not "to" us.  He followed that up by appointing Arne Duncan Secretary of Education, racing to the top, and imposing junk science ratings and Common Core on most of the country via a gun to its head. When Arne said Katrina was the best thing to happen to NOLA education, Obama didn't chastize him at all. When Arne made his idiotic remark about soccer moms' kids not being so smart, based on ridiculous Common Core tests, Obama said nothing.

Making John King Duncan's successor was a slap in the face to working teachers. It's very disappointing neither Eskelson Garcia nor Weingarten would come right out and say so. Of course, they're both busy campaigning for Hillary Clinton, who has promised to close any school that isn't "above average."

King would have us entirely forget his own tenure in New York and make believe we trust him. I certainly hope we aren't stupid enough to fall for that.
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